Craving yellow beer and straight-up, simple and very fresh seafood? Blue Water Seafood on Charlotte Street opens for dinner tonight, Tuesday, Jan 11.
The pilot concept for the dinner menu is a simple one, says owner Tracy Griffin. “Initially, it’s going to be like Vinnie’s Raw Bar in Charlotte — lots of steamed shrimp, oysters, lobsters, clams, mussels, crab legs, lobster rolls, soups, gumbos and étouffée.”
The restaurant already does a brisk lunch business, with a menu of salads, steamer buckets, sandwiches and a cioppino that the restaurant’s website promises “will knock your socks off.”
Blue Water Seafood limits alcohol offerings to beer and wine for now, but a liquor license is coming, Griffin says. She adds that no reservations will be accepted for the tiny space — seats are first-come, first-served. That approach adds to the intentionally casual feel of the eatery, says Griffin. “It’s super-laid back. We just want everybody to relax and have a good time,” she says.
And after dinner, guests can purchase a little piece of the coast to take home with them, says Griffin. The seafood market remains open to diners and walk-in business alike until 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. “Most of our customers said that, yes, it would be nice to be able to come in late and get fish,” she says.
Griffin reports a substantial growth for the business since the Charlotte Street location opened (the Griffins opened the original Blue Water Seafood in Hendersonville in 2009). “We’ve been doing two or three times [the business] we did last year, every day,” she says. She credits the brisk business in part to the food trifecta that Blue Water Seafood forms with its neighbors, The Chop Shop Butchery and the City Bakery. The City Bakery is doing well enough that a third location will open on Main Street in Waynesville this year, and The Chop Shop’s customer base continues to grow daily.
“I’ve got to tell you, with the bread and the fish and the meat, that’s a dream little block right there,” she says. Griffin says she hasn’t ruled out future expansion of her own, especially if the business continues to grow at the current rate. “You never know what the years will bring. We’d want to stay right in this neighborhood, though,” she says.
Blue Water Seafood is located at 94 Charlotte Street in north Asheville, next to the City Bakery. For more information, call 253-2080.